NPHET wants to ban hugging at Christmas
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NPHET wants to ban hugging at Christmas

THE NATIONAL Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is reportedly set to advise the Government that hugging should not be allowed at family gatherings over Christmas.

Ireland is set to exit Level Five lockdown next week, and expected to drop down to Level Three for the Christmas run-in.

A Government announcement outlining the regulations that will be in place over the coming weeks is set to take place this evening, as people and businesses around the country nervously wait to find out what sort of Christmas they'll be having.

It's understood that NPHET are strongly advising Cabinet to open as little of the country up as possible.

They are reportedly keen on keeping the hospitality sector closed, save for takeaways and deliveries, but it's their recommendation regarding physical contact that's likely to draw the most ire from the public.

NPHET reportedly want to stop people from hugging over Christmas, even simple embraces that last a second or two.

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It's been suggested that up to three households will be allowed to gather over the festive period, and domestic travel restrictions will be lifted in order to allow families to meet up across the country.

But health experts have been stressing the importance of adhering to public health guidelines inside the home too.

Speaking on RTE Radio earlier in the week, Irish immunologist Professor Luke O'Neill suggested that people should refrain from passing the gravy boat at Christmas dinner, that they shouldn't sit directly opposite another family member at the table, and that vulnerable people should be placed near an open window.

Dr Michael J Ryan, Ireland's representative at the World Health Organization, suggested that the public wear face masks while gathering with family during Christmas.